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Title: Drawing boundaries : nations, states and self-determination
Author: Banai, Ayelet
Awarding Body: Oxford University
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2009
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The claims of cultures and nationalities have presented liberal, democratic and republican theory with a persistent problem: on the one hand, the principle of peoples' self-determination requires a realm of autonomy to cultural and national groups to govern themselves in their own ways; one the other hand, the national and cultural models of the political community come into sharp tensions with the universal principles of individual rights and legal and democratic equality. The thesis addresses one aspect of this problem and explores the role of cultural and national claims in the definition and conception of the political community and in drawing its boundaries. I provide a critical discussion of the prominent approaches to this question in contemporary theories of liberal nationalism and liberal multiculturalism, and argue that the cultural notions of the political community which they espouse are inadequate. Drawing on earlier approaches to the claims of nationalities in liberal, republican and democratic political thought - as they emerge in Europe during the 1848-9 revolutions and in the peace treaties at the end of WWI - I retrieve and develop an alternative conception of the political community and its boundaries, which I call 'the political approach'. This approach, I argue, is better equipped to accommodate in theory the legitimate claims of cultures and nationalities, without falling into the traps of cultural essentialism, homogeneity and exclusion. At the same time, different from civic and cosmopolitan views, the political conception does not ignore or deny the public role and place of cultural and national identities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available